The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel
4.5 out of 5: Edgar Sawtelle, born mute and able to communicate only through sign language, lives on a farm in northern Wisconsin where his family breeds a line of unusually intelligent and perceptive dogs. Edgar’s idyllic life quickly dissolves into something much darker and ambiguous, stretching his ability to understand and communicate with the world around him. This quick-paced story unfolds in five acts and resonates with elements from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Rather than feeling like an imitation, however, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a unique and powerful re-rendering where the echoes of the classic plot add an appealing timelessness and heft to the story.
Wroblewski’s prose is lush and tightly controlled at the same time. Like his protagonist, Wroblewski possesses an extensive and diverse vocabulary, creating precise and intelligent prose without sacrificing beauty. Wroblewski’s sensitive prose is perfectly suited to capturing the essence of the Sawtelle dogs and their intimate relationships with people. Clearly, Wroblewski has extensive experience with, understanding of, and love for dogs, and dog-lovers will especially enjoy The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. The only way to make this book better would be to eliminate about 100 pages from the middle of the book where the story drags a bit. Highly recommended.